Whilst many businesses now claim to be socially responsible, achieving this in a genuine and effective way requires a strong vision and unfaltering commitment. Lynda Shillaw, CEO at MAG Property, talks about the benefits of being socially responsible.
More commonly known as corporate social responsibility (CSR), this self-regulating approach takes many guises, but all should contribute to social development and drive added value outside of a business. From the Victorian philanthropists to modern day multinationals, embracing social responsibility isn’t new, but there is a clear and increasing need for doing business in a responsible way.
My own business experience has reinforced this view, working in a number of businesses that never lost sight of their commitment to social responsibility, even during the most testing of times. Like all of those companies with a committed CSR strategy, the principles of being socially responsible were embedded into every aspect of the businesses, including property.
Providing conditions for success
This is our ambition for Airport City Manchester, creating a world-class destination where commercial success in a rapidly-changing and highly connected world goes hand-in-hand with delivering a positive and lasting impact in the local community.
The catalytic success and social impact of our investment in Global Logistics, where around 3,000 jobs have been created, is merely a precursor to what we want to achieve at Airport City North. Through our development and stewardship of exemplar new offices, advanced manufacturing facilities, hotels and leisure space, we aim to bring forward 16,000 career opportunities and high-quality jobs over the next 10-15 years to an area of outstanding connectivity and aspiration.
The recent completion of the £15m Enterprise way link road unlocks the development land to help facilitate this next phase of the project. The community launch event provided an ideal opportunity for Airport City Manchester to launch its very own CSR strategy, one that sees placemaking, health and well-being and community engagement at its very heart.
In doing so, we aim to provide a unique and compelling platform from which ambitious and responsible businesses can connect with, as well as providing opportunities for and benefit from the diversity of people and communities in Manchester and the surrounding area.
Embracing a Changing Future
Drawing inspiration and input from key stakeholders across the region, our ‘Embracing a Changing Future’ vision is built around four important pillars, which range from opening up a world of opportunity to creating a place where great things happen. Each will see the activation and delivery of a diverse programme of initiatives and commitments, from sustainable transport, green space and eco-friendly buildings, to global apprenticeships, community food projects and well-being education.
Airport City Manchester aims to attract like-minded businesses that are driven by commercial endeavour, corporate purpose and the opportunity to translate their ambition into realised local impact; businesses that understand the potential within the local community and workforce and see positive engagement with those communities as key to their corporate success.
Deliver your promises
Our long-term plan is well underway, giving people the chance to form a connection from the outset. By working closely with local businesses, our interactive ‘Platform’ event space provides occupiers and the community the opportunity to engage and benefit from a wide range of pop-up activities on-site, from food, drink and entertainment, to education, talks and events.
Working with British Cycling and TfGM, our commitment to enabling and promoting cycling is also taking shape in the form of bike hub provision, maintenance workshops, cycle way development and health and well-being events. Most notably, our recent Enterprise Way Community Ride gave 150 cyclists of all ages from across the region the unique opportunity to ride around a 1km loop on a major piece of infrastructure prior to its opening.
Creating a positive legacy
Increasingly, developers need to be mindful of the influence creating new places can have on the local and global community. From employee welfare, community development to environmental sustainability and education, their actions can have a positive and lasting impact that resonates far beyond the destinations they create.
Having a social purpose that your audience can relate to also helps drive business and loyalty, although this is merely a benefit, rather than a starting point. Successful CSR is grounded with solid foundations from which a clear and relevant purpose can be delivered.
That’s why we’re excited by the potential of Airport City Manchester, where we are committed to providing the conditions for long-term success, not just for the organisations that choose to locate and do business here, but for the lasting positive impact it will have on Greater Manchester, the North and, most importantly, the people and communities who live nearby.